Israel Retracts False Claim Regarding Alleged Hamas Rocket Base

23 Aug
4:15 PM

UN PRESS RELEASE
23 August 2014, East Jerusalem

Israeli officials retracted this morning their earlier claim on Friday that the rocket that killed a four-year-old child in Southern Israel was launched from an UNRWA school in the Gaza Strip.

See: Israeli Child Killed by Palestinian Rocket in Sderot

The Israeli news reports that the rocket was launched from an UNRWA school were false. The same media outlets that rushed to report the incident without seeking confirmation from UNRWA are required and called upon to also report the Israeli army retraction. We also call on Israeli military spokespersons and other official sources to ensure the accuracy of their facts before going public.

UNRWA deplores the killing of all children during this conflict, including the killing of the four-year-old Israeli child yesterday and the hundreds of Palestinian children killed since the start of the current fighting. We call on all parties to ensure protection and care of children affected by armed conflict, in accordance with their obligations under international law.

UNRWA is working under incredible pressure right now in Gaza providing assistance to hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the fighting. Even during this extraordinarily difficult situation, we do our utmost to maintain the highest standards of neutrality for our staff, our property and in our installations.

– Ends –

On the record quote from Chris Gunness, UNRWA Spokesperson:

“I hope those news outlets that were so quick to publish the false and damaging claim — that the rocket which killed an Israeli child came from an UNRWA school — are equally swift in publishing the fact that the claim is totally baseless. Within hours of briefing journalists incorrectly, Israeli officials retracted their false claim. I call on Israeli spokespeople to check first, before making false allegations and I urge all journalists to check with me first before publishing inaccuracies and falsehoods. UNRWA condemns the killing of this first Israeli child in the latest conflict. We have also condemned the killing of nearly five hundred children in Gaza.”

Background information:

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some five million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency’s General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 68 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org

or

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724
s.mshasha@unrwa.org

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